The article recasts the economic writings of Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi, and his critique of industrialization in particular, in light of Sismondi’s self-proclaimed indebtedness to Adam Smith. Sismondi’s economic thought was shaped by his opposition to Napoleon’s protectionist economic policies and took the form of a critique of monopolies made in the name of the common good. After Waterloo and the collapse of the empire, Sismondi developed a critique of the British school of political economy and its corresponding model of economic development through the generalization of wage labor, mechanization, and large-scale farming. In his last years, during the early 1830s, Sismondi took aim at “industrialism” itself, a term which for him grouped together all those contemporary economic theories asserting that society should be organized by and for production exclusively. However, throughout his career as an economist, in developing these opinions Sismondi claimed to be faithful to Adam Smith’s understanding of what political economy should be. This article seeks to demonstrate that Sismondi’s theoretical production was deeply rooted in his evolving “neo-Smithianism.”

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